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tv   Focus on Europe  PBS  April 22, 2017 6:00pm-6:31pm PDT

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♪ michelle: hello, and welcome to "fokus on europe." i'm michelle henery. today we're taking a look at some of the issues affecting the lives of many europeans, including shining a light onto russia's black market economy. there, many people are running micro-enterprises from inside a garage, paying few, if any, taxes. president putin wants to change that to fill the growing hole in russia's economy. but these entrepreneurs disagree. "let putin first force his officials to pay taxes themselves," says this woman. more on that, later in the show. tensions between germany and turkey are near breaking point. relations were strained when german turkish journalist deneez yoojel was jailed in istanbul last month.
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now they are under even more pressure as a referendum approaches on substantially increasing president erdogan's powers. as ankara tries to appeal to the more than one million turks living in germany who are eligible to vote, this once close community now find its differences have become bitter divisions. reporter: hot off the press. "hayir" means "no" in turkish. the activist and green party politician murvet ozturk is hoping to convince the turkish-german community in her hometown of wetzlar to vote against a constitutional amendment which would give the president more power. ms. ozturk: if people are worried about freely expressing an opinion 3000 kilometers away from turkey, as an elected democrat, i can't look away. i'm getting involved because i want to support people here who'd rather vote no. reporter: ozturk was born in germany. her parents came here almost 50 years ago to escape poverty and
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the lack of freedom in turkey. today, she's worried that turkey is headed in the wrong direction. and she worries that people in germany's turkish community can no longer express opposition without fear. ms. ozturk: it would be terrible if people were to take revenge after the referendum. in the sense of, they voted no, so let's get them. that would be very dangerous. let's give the taxi driver a flyer. can i give you this? >> it's better if you don't. ms. ozturk: why? >> because you're turkey's enemies. ms. ozturk: we just want people to be able to express their opinions freely. reporter: ozturk finds more support at an event to raise awareness about her "no" campaign among the local kurdish and alevi communities.
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they are generally more critical of turkish president recep tayyip erdogan and his plans. ozturk knows that every vote from germany will count. ms. ozturk: let's not forget deniz yucel. that he's in jail in turkey, that there's no independent judiciary anymore. one more reason to vote "no." reporter: the town of florsheim is an hour away. this is where the journalist deniz yucel grew up and went to school. worried about his safety in jail, his parents are refusing to talk to the media. the same holds for most of the german-turkish community here. only one shop owner is willing to talk to us about yucel's detention. >> some people say it's right. others say it's wrong.
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right because he interviewed people from a terror organization. why did he do that? that's a problem for the turkish state. but i think everyone is responsible for their own actions. reporter: other locals in florsheim don't really understand why some people of turkish descent are supporting erdogan. >> they grew up here. how could they believe these things? i guess they just watch turkish tv and think that what's being said there is the truth. reporter: turkish newspapers are widely available in germany, including the pro-government daily "sabah." it is a vocal critic anyone who opposes erdogan, and says that deniz yucel is a terrorist. the paper's german office is in frankfurt, but we received no response to our queries about its coverage of the deniz yucel case.
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murvet ozturk is well aware that she is on the radar of the pro-government media. as an activist and politician, she's used to being criticized for her views. but still, she was shocked when "sabah" denounced her as a traitor. like many german-turkish politicians, she's also becoming more worried about her safety. ms. ozturk: i'd prefer to live without police protection. i still believe i can, but of course i'll seek advice. i hope that what's happening now doesn't become the norm here in germany. reporter: she refuses to give up the fight for democracy in turkey. in her hometown of wetzlar, she's received either with a noncommittal shrug or sometimes outright rejection. ms. ozturk: a lot will have to be done after the referendum too. we have to establish a culture of debate, political education. we need a respectful culture of
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debate. we need that here very badly. reporter: in the meantime, she'll continue to call on her fellow turkish citizens in germany to vote "no" in the referendum, and campaign for their right to express their opinion without fear -- something that's become almost impossible in turkey. michelle: for many of us, a garage is a place we use for storage or more likely, to park our cars. but for some russians trying to make a living in a troubled economic climate, it's a place for business. they are often transformed into anything from a car repair shop to a hairdressers. however, most of the millions of people running these garazhniki don't pay tax, which has lead vladimir putin to announce a crackdown. our reporter, juri rescheto, went to find out what makes this shadow economy tick.
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juri: a classic garage band -- russian-style. and a garage upholstery shop. and a do-it-yourself recycling center. they're all part of grenada -- a garage cooperative in the city of nabereznye chelny, a city of half a million people over 1000 kilometers east of moscow. this male domain is ruled by a woman -- ekaterina ermakova, known locally as catherine the great. ms. ermakova: i know my lads, and they know me. juri: ms. ermakova has been chairwoman of the garage cooperative for the past 20 years. she can open a few doors that would otherwise stay locked tight to outsiders. in this workshop, old soviet cars are made good as new. customization goes hand-in-hand with restoration. these are collectors items on
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four wheels. "valeri," as we'll call him, is a master mechanic in high demand. a customer explains what he'd like done with his old uazik. valeri is versatile. in his garage's basement, he does upholstery work of all kinds. he says he's legally registered as a small businessman -- as legal as he can be, working cash in hand, and no billing. that may be why he wanted to remain anonymous. garage cooperatives like this one are a hold-over from the soviet era. they were built to house vehicles, but since capitalism took hold, the state has not been privy to what goes on behind the closed doors. ms. ermakova: even if one of them suddenly decided to go legit and register his trade, he'd have to pay so much more in rent and taxes and undergo so many checks, from environmental
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to fire safety regulations, that his business wouldn't survive. that's why everyone here lies low. juri: estimates of the garazhnikis' numbers run to 30 million, or about 40% of russia's able-bodied population -- a vast shadow economy. they have no intention of sharing their earnings with the state. yet they're urgently needed by russia's legitimate economy -- by the industry they once fled. boris used to work as an automotive mechanic. now he's specialized in fixing loudspeakers. boris: for 30 years, i worked in a plant and got hardly any pay for it. finally, i quit, and i've been my own boss here ever since -- not officially, of course. i avoid any contact with the authorities. they're corrupt themselves. they just demand bribes. i won't go along with that. juri: no government has yet
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succeeded in breaking the vicious circle -- the tradesmen cheat the state, or the state cheats them. all across russia, the situation is much the same -- billions of rubles roll past the state. ms. ermakova: putin ought to make his officials pay taxes first. if they'd pay taxes on their own property, then my boys would all be working here legally. juri: president vladimir putin has finally realized the urgency of controlling unregistered businesses and ordered an overhaul of the incomprehensible and overly complicated taxation and certification systems for small businesses. but that may not be nearly enough to bring the shadow economy into the open -- not as long as russians lack any real confidence in their state.
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michelle: a lone wolf terrorist killed four people in london before being shot and killed by security forces in the capital last week. but the focus soon shifted to britain's second city, birmingham, where the attacker lived and where police have carried out a number of raids linked to the atrocity. a disproportionate number of convicted islamist militants, including some linked to 9/11 and to last year's bombings in brussels, have come from the city. our reporter went to birmingham to gauge the mood there. reporter: terrorists used to use kalashnikovs and explosives. but the most recent had nothing more than a car, rented in birmingham, for less than 200 euros a day. towards 2:30, khalid masood, an islamist radicalized in prison, drove his rented hyundai suv along london's westminster bridge, careening into the crowded sidewalk at 70 kilometers per hour.
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a surveillance camera captured the incident. it was over in seconds. the footage shows one victim throwing herself into the river. a few seconds after the attack, phone videos documented the horrific ramifications. over 50 people strewn along the bridge, several severely injured. some were still fighting for their lives days after the incident. after leaving the bridge, masood rammed his vehicle into the fence of westminster palace -- the meeting place of the british parliament and its prime minister. kevin schofield, a journalist working in parliament, heard the collision and then witnessed what happened next. off on foot. his next victim was an unarmed policeman guarding the palace entrance. mr. schofield: they looked like they were fighting, because i couldn't tell at that time that
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he had a knife on him. but it all happened really, really quickly. and as i say, another police officer came into view, trying to approach the incident and that was when the attacker got up and went for the other police officer as well with his knife, but he was obviously shot before he could do any more damage. reporter: the last moments before the attacker was stopped by several shots. the terrorist, khalid masood, died in hospital. a father of three, who became a multiple killer. prior to his deed, the 52-year-old lived in birmingham, long deemed a hub for radical islamists. a recent study claims that every tenth british jihadist comes from there. until december 2016, masood lived in the district of winson green. as a teenager, he was a petty criminal who then converted to
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islam in prison -- a biography shared by thousands. he was on the british secret service's radar, but only as a peripheral figure. to his neighbors, he was an outsider too. hardly anyone knew this man, who once worked as an english teacher in saudi-arabia. ms. romek: he was a very big guy. nice, calm. i wouldn't say that he could do something wrong, really. always taking care of the garden, cutting the grass, washing the car. i don't think he went into some conversations with the neighbors here. he was just a closed person. reporter: a religious loner with a wife and children attracts little attention in birmingham. after all, many muslims live in britain's second largest city. but since the attack, the relatively peaceful status quo has been upset. >> we're made out to be the bad boys, you know, the "terrorists." but realistically, we're all the
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same people. you know, me, you, him, cameraman, everybody. we're all the same people. but some media channels -- not all, some media channels, make muslims the bad boys. reporter: london on friday afternoon. westminster bridge is buzzing with tourists once again. london may be mourning, but it refuses to bow to fear. terrorism, it seems, has no chance against british democracy. that's the good news. michelle: at the tender age if 15, daniel has already been living on the streets of bucharest for five years. and he's one of the hundreds of homeless people who live not on the streets, but under them. daniel hopes to one day have a normal life above ground, and with the help of an ngo, which teaches children like him circus skills, he may just be able to find a way out. reporter: when the winter sun
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hangs low over bucharest, its historical facades seem to shine with a warm glow. but many of its residents here hardly ever feel that warmth. hundreds of homeless people live underground in the city's tunnel systems. among them are many children. they've set up housekeeping between the pipes that supply the metropolis with heat. 40-year-old liviu has been sleeping down here for years, along with a number of teenagers he picked up off the streets. a few months ago, he took in 15-year-old daniel. the boy tells us his mother's dead, and his father's an alcoholic. he ran away when he was 10 years old. down here, he's found something like a second home. daniel: this is my bed here. i have to clean it thoroughly every evening, because everyone who comes through here steps on it with their shoes, and it gets pretty dirty. reporter: he takes meticulous
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care of his new lodgings. but it isn't that easy for him to sweep his memory clean of what he experienced at home. daniel: i often think of my dead brother. i think of my sister who lives somewhere far away in another country. and i think of my own dead child and the girl i had the baby with. reporter: many here have similar stories to tell. they drown their memories in alcohol and other drugs. now, daniel's found something else. as often as he possibly can, he makes the long walk several kilometers across bucharest to a circus performers' school run by the parada child protection ngo. street children have been getting training here for years, learning acrobatics, juggling with rings, balls, and clubs. it's a tough school and a
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challenge for daniel, but he wouldn't dream of giving up. daniel: i feel good here, because i forget all my cares and problems when i'm training. reporter: then daniel has to go out to make some money, as he puts it. he heads for a spot close to the romanian parliament. some friends from the tunnels are already there. they hang out together to beg. >> this spot is pretty good, because it's a little bit out of view, so the police don't bother us so much here. at the same time, lots of people come along and they give us money or something to eat. reporter: back at the school, the others keep practicing. some, like 30-year-old alina, have been here for years. she was living on the street, as
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well, but now she's got a job in a hotel and a room of her own. alina: this is my family. i can relax here. i've found the nicest place i've ever had in my life. reporter: a few hours later, daniel comes back and gets an earful from alina, because he went begging instead of practicing. alina: i know what you can do, daniel. i know your potential. take an example from me. you can make it, too. so come on and pull yourself together. reporter: this evening, the street children of bucharest have something special planned. many of them have been living in the shadows for years. now, they're in the spotlight. just for one day, they can be heroes. michelle: for many northern europeans, italy means warmth, light and bright sunshine. but that's not always the case, which the residents of the small
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mountain village of viganella know only too well. in the winter, they feel left in the lurch by the sun. but the village's mayor has come up with an ingenious way to reflect some light into their darkness. reporter: more light. that's what the inhabitants of viganella have always wanted in winter. for three months a year, the village is plunged into darkness and cold. many of the locals can't deal with it, so they escape to sunnier spots, leaving houses empty. but there is some help coming from above -- where the sun shines. viganella's deputy mayor pier franco midali, who is actually a train driver, is committed to bringing light to the village. mr. midali: we're heading for a
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rocky promontory well above the village where there's a mirror, which will beam sunlight straight onto the village square. reporter: it will take an hour to get to the spot. the mirror is in need of new equipment and some repairs. the sides of the antrona valley are so steep that cables -- or in the old days, mules -- are the only way of transporting heavy equipment to the top. a slow, painstaking journey -- that's not quite over yet. pier franco has to undertake the final meters on foot. and finally he makes it. he's 1100 meters above the village, which is hidden deep in the valley. and here's the mirror, measuring five by eight meters in size.
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the mayor fulfilled the lifelong dream when he had it installed 10 years ago to bring light to the dark valley -- a real technological challenge. mr. midali: the material reflects 95% of the sunlight. that's almost all the luminosity. but some of it gets lost because of vapor and dust particles in the air during the refraction. after all, the light does have to travel another kilometer to get to the village. reporter: after installing the control box, they have to check everything is working. the circuits and hydraulic pistons remained broken for two years after a fire damaged the control unit.
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the mirror was left to its own devices. the village remained in the dark. but now it's working again, and beams sunlight right into viganella. it even illuminates roofs and facades and parts of the village that have never captured the sun before, such as the church's northern side -- to the delight of the villagers. gianinno and his wife romina looked forward to this day for a long time. they're so glad to have light again after two dark winters. ms. mancini: of course it's not as powerful as the real sun. it's just a mirror. but we're happy about this, for sure. mr. broggio: the light warms my heart. something is happening that i
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could never have imagined. ms. trischetti: we have to celebrate that fact that we've finally got sun on our piazza in winter. it's wonderful. reporter: but there's still some fine-tuning to be done. the solar cycle has been saved by the computer, which can communicate with the mirror and make adjustments as necessary. mr. midali: the mirror moves like the sun, but very slowly and in the opposite direction. this way, the sunlight is always reflected into the church square. reporter: but even this is not enough for midali. he wants to bring sunlight to the darkest corners of viganella so that the village comes back to life -- in winter, too. mr. midali: you have to be a bit
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crazy, in a positive way, to have new ideas and visions. it helps to break out of this little world around us. reporter: for now, there seems to be no reason why he will not be able to realize his vision and bring light and life to viganella for many winters to come. michelle: that's all for today. let us know what you think about that or any of today's stories by sending a tweet or visiting our facebook page, "dw stories." and be sure to look out for damien mcguiness when he returns next week. in the meantime, goodbye. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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